We rely on your reports of any natural or wildlife related items of interest.
Please pass your reports to Iain or John. See our Contacts page for details.

Latest News

Farm gates are closed for a reason - if you open one to get through, CLOSE IT SECURELY BEHIND YOU
. D
o NOT climb over gates or fences.
There has been a few occasions where gates were either left open or not fastened properly - one such causing considerable extra work for the farmer. We do not want such negiligence to occur in the future so please abide by the usual 'country code'. Visitors may either enter the field at the 'kissing gate' (about 100 yards down from the main road) and following the fence side or, if coming in at the finger post gate, rather than entering the big field an alternative route is to follow the line of trees alongside the reserve and enter via the stile.

If you wish to join our club (and new members are very welcome) you can download an application form from here. The form is in Microsoft Word format so should be readily viewable. The forms will also be available per the usual outlets.

Jock's well loved presentation "Birds of our Rivers, Hills & Moors" is still available on DVD, for the modest price of £5.00, from our local 'paper shop' (A M Grieves, Newsagents) on the High Street. If you cannot get one there, please contact John per our 'Contacts' page and we can get one to you.

Clicking on an image on our pages will give normally give an enlarged version (maximum 640 x 480 pixels approximately). Higher resolution images may be available on request (subject to the copyright holder's agreement) - contact John for details.

18th April 2017
From Iain -
Ken Hines had an Osprey hunting over the River Annan near Lockerbie creamery on the 10th April and the following day he had a pair of Siskin and a male Lesser Redpoll in his garden. These two species and Goldfinch are usually at peak numbers in local gardens and many gardens have been lucky to have these three colourful finches. There were 3 Raven over Meadowbank Rise on the 15th while I was out delivering. At our Reserve were 3 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 10 plus Sand Martins, 2 Buzzard, 1 Jay, 6 Moorhen, 11 Mallard, 2 Teal, Long tailed Tit and 3 Song Thrush with at least 6 Rabbits which is the most for a very long time. Summer migrants are slow arriving probably due to our changeable climate.....which is not surprising!!
And from Dave on the 13th -
Field opposite Bankend Wood : 4 Linnets, 2 Meadow Pipits, Wren.
Evan Water : Dipper feeding young under bridge, Chiff Chaff.
Annandale Way over field from Barnhill road towards our Reserve : 4 Sand Martins, 42 Meadow Pipits (walls and barb wire full off them), Pied Wagtail.
Quarry : 2 Lesser B B Gulls, 3 Cormorants, 10 Oystercatchers, 1 Grey Heron
Our Reserve : 2 Teal, Buzzard, Nuthatch, 2 Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit , Great Tit, Song Thrush, 18 Sand Martins over the field at the back, 2 Mallard. 1 Roe deer (meadow)

13th April 2017
Latest from Iain - A Red Kite was seen near Dumfries by Maurice Henderson on the 6th April. Garry Tait had 2 Wheatear and 4 singing Skylark up the Crooked Road on the 7th while 8 Sand Martin were at the Reserve. Jim Marrs had two first sightings for his garden in the form of a Brambling and a Redpoll while Kate Warters saw a male Bullfinch in her sisters garden in Reid Street.
Dave Bradshaw had a Wheatear up the Crooked Road on the 8th and signs of migration with at least 700 Pinkfeet heading North in 20 minutes. The following day Dave had the first 2 House Martins over Cornal Court and a Swallow and Sand Martin along the Barnhill Road. I paid my first visit to the Reserve for 8 weeks and 1 day, with Lorna, on the Sunday night which was really good to do. The team have done a brilliant job looking after the Reserve and there were plenty birds around with 5 Sand Martins, a Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler around with 7 Teal, 16 Mallard, 3 Grey Heron and 5 Moorhen on the wetland. The woodland was full of small birds such as Siskin, Redpoll, Greenfinch and 2 Song Thrush among many others. At the Community Reserve there were 2 Lesser Black Backed Gulls, 3 Canada Geese, 3 Little Grebe, 17 Oystercatcher, 2 Buzzard, 2 Swallows and 10-12 Sand Martins over the lochan. While Dave was out on the 11th he saw a few Lapwing sitting at the Watermeetings, Elvanfoot area but no Golden Plover around while the Leadhills Road had Wheatear but no Red Grouse around. The Mennock Pass had Raven and Wheatear but no Ring Ouzel yet. An early morning visit to Earlshaugh just North of the Beef Tub by Garry on the 12th rewarded his efforts with 2/3 Curlew, 6 Black Grouse and a great sighting of 5 Dotterel as they head North which was great.

12th April 2017
Advance warning - access to our photo gallery is to be discontinued soon. The number of 'hits' is so small that it is not worth our while keeping it. The web space saved can be made available for more current items instead. Any objections from anyone?

4th April 2017
Some sightings that were inadvertently missed out on Iain's previous report -
Garry had a Chiffchaff at our Reserve on 24th March. Lindsay Bowman saw a Merlin up the Greenhillstairs on the 26th. On the 27th Simon Tweedie reported seeing a Cormorant on the Earshaig Pond for the first time there. There were small numbers of Crossbill in the area and plenty Frogs spawning. The same day Dave had a calling Chiffchaff at Beattock and a Treecreeper was singing too.

And some sightings by Dave on 2nd April -
Evan Water:
Chiffchaff, Dipper nesting under motorway bridge.
Barnhill road:
Chiffchaff 2, Pied Wagtail 2
Quarry (Community Reserve):
Cormorant 3, Oystercatcher 8, Lesser Backbacked Gull 2, Moorhen 1
Our reserve:
Teal 2, Mallard 3, Grey Heron, Pheasant 1, Chaffinch 14, Song Thrush 2, Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Wren. 4 Roedeer on meadow (3 female 1 male).
No further sighting of the Swallow at Beattock.

2nd April 2017
From Iain -
A reliable report of 2 Red Kites to the North of Moffat on 30th March was noteworthy in an area with various sightings over the last couple of years. John Smith had a Blackcap in Greenwood Close on the 31st March. Garry reported a number of Chiffchaff at our Reserve on the 1st April and a pair of Reed Bunting were at the feeding station in the Orchard area. Sand Martins were on the Nith at Dumfries. Annie Will from Haas Cottage had two "melanistic" female Pheasants in her garden at Beattock on the 2nd April. Dave Bradshaw has a Swallow on wires outside his house in Beattock which is pretty early (photo).

26th March 2107 (updated)
Iain's report - On 9th February at the back of the Balmoral Hotel, Garry saw 8 Brambling and 2 Crossbills which were both good sightings. The following day Garry also saw 5 Oystercatcher on the rafts at the Community Reserve with at least 8 Little Grebe on the lochan. On the 11th at the Reserve we had a busy day chipping logs and branches though the weather was wet and windy. There was a Willow Tit near the Orchard with 30 Mallard and 20 Teal on the wetland with 2 Buzzards around. While out on my last day delivering before going into hospital for my hip replacement, while out at Meadow Bank and Meadowbank Rise at least 350 Jackdaws and Rooks were leaving there nearby roost site and 2 Ravens also flew over. A fair gap in sightings due to my recovery period....sorry. Dave Bradshaw reported that one of his neighbours in Cornal Court had up to 75 Siskin in his garden which is a fantastic total and must have been an amazing sight. There was a good record from Alan Roulston who saw a Green Woodpecker near the Reserve in the trees where we park our cars on the 11th. If anybody does see a Green Woodpecker please let us know as we think there could be more around in slightly more rural areas out of view from most humans....keep your eyes open. On Sunday 12th many Pink Footed Geese were heading north over the town. On the 14th an email from Ken Hines with some of his recent sightings.....a Goldcrest on the cycle path near the Evan Water bridge, a Cormorant over the same bridge heading towards Moffat and on the Sunday his first spring sightings of Oystercatcher over Telford House. Also perhaps as many as 2000 Pink Footed Geese .....flying around apparently looking for somewhere to feed as there was a lot of thick low cloud perhaps preventing them flying North. In his pond which is only 8 foot by 4 foot he also had 20 plus Frogs spawning which was a good count and shows that you do not need a huge pond to attract wildlife. A Brown Hare was seen up Gallow Hill by Mr Muirhead on the 15th. The first local Osprey of the Spring was seen on the 17th heading up Moffat Water valley which was good news. Ken Hines reported seeing a small pipistrelle bat while driving into Moffat, near The Knowe... mid morning on the 24th March which was noteworthy. I may have misplaced or forgotten to write some of your records down and I can only apologise for that.....hopefully normal service will resume as I am almost back to work as normal and the exciting Spring period is upon us.

John has a couple of items to add - frogs arrived in his pond on 20th Feb, first spawn shortly after. Despite the pond being, quite literally, under water a day or two later (some 2 inches of fast flowing floodwater above the top of the pond) the spawn survived. More frogs active (50+) over the following few days. A single female Brambling visited on 16th March. On milder days, an occasional bumblebee around but the summery day yesterday (Saturday) brought out quite a few. The warmth also brought out a few butterflies with both Red Admiral and Peacock seen. Oddly, today, despite being even warmer, had virtually nothing on offer!

Dave Bradshaw visited the reserves on Friday (24th March)-
Our reserve - 8 Teal, 5 Mallard, 2 Buzzard, 2 Greenfinch, 3 Robin, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Nuthatch, 4 Great Tit, 1 Treecreeper, 19 Chaffinch, 3 Stock Dove, 2 Pheasant, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Roe Buck (antlers about15 inches).
Quarry -
4 Mute Swan (2 adults 2 juveniles), 16 Oystercatchers, 5 Cormorant, 5 Mallard, 1 Moorhen, 2 Teal

Dave also sent some cracking photographs - here are just four -
First is of a Garganey drake, second is a GreenWinged Teal drake showing how colourful a bird it is, third is a Little Egret and the fourth is a cheeky Woodmouse in Dave's back garden.

12th February 2017
The 2016 County Mammal Report (covering SW Scotland) has been sent to us by Andy Riches. You can view it

Iain's latest report -
7th January produced a Water Rail in the "stoorie burn" at the Reserve which was the first there for a while and there were also 12 Teal, 36 Mallard, 3 Grey Heron, male Kestrel, a Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 100 plus Chaffinch, a Willow Tit, Magpie and Jay. Roger Grant reported a Red Squirrel near St Anns bridge on the 11th and a Fox and 3 Roe Deer were at the Reserve with 29 Redwing, 27 Teal, 4 Pheasant , 2 Buzzard and a Willow Tit. Garry reported on the 13th that 2 Red Kites were above Ruxton's Dump up the Edinburgh Road and a belated report of a Barn Owl further up the valley a few days previous. At the Community Reserve on the 14th were 2 Mute Swans, 1 male Tufted duck, 14 Mallard, 7 Teal, 9 Little Grebe and 3 Moorhen. Apart from all the usual birds at the Reserve at least 1000 Pink Footed Geese flew over around 11am or tea time.....probably lasted until 11.30am.....Garry reported a pair of Smew on Fruid reservoir on the 16th which as an exceptional record. On the 18th at home at Park Circle waiting for Garry to pick me up there were in excess of 200 Chaffinch in the trees beside the foot bridge. At the Reserve 2 Goosanders flew past and the male Kestrel put in another welcome appearance. While delivering papers on the morning of the 20th I heard a few Wigeon flying overhead. On the morning of the 25th Alan Smith reported hearing an Oystercatcher passing over the town and 20 minutes later while delivering at Ettrick Drive I also heard one. At the Reserve that morning were 33 Teal, 43 Mallard, 6 Moorhen, a Mute Swan overhead and 800 plus Pinkfeet passing over. On 1st February at the Reserve were 30 each Teal and Mallard and on the Community Reserve were 10 Little Grebe, 12 Teal and 2 Grey Heron. On Sunday 5th John Smith had a Peregrine over his Greenwood Close garden and a single Goldcrest too. Bob McGoran reported a young/male Sparrowhawk sitting on his garden wall after a failed attack which provided good views and he said that he usually gets a female Sparrowhawk visiting his garden. Richard Bligh also reported an Oystercatcher at his workplace near Lockerbie on the 7th of the month.

Finally, a few more of Dave Bradshaw's photographs. The Long-tailed Tits were snapped in early January, the rest earlier this month. The Herring Gull seems to have got quite a feast!

Long-tailed Tits

Purple Sandpiper


Great Grey Shrike

Herring Gull

7th January 2017
We wish you all a very Good New Year!

A few items for you this time. We kick off with the latest summary from Iain -
On the 16th November at the Reserve were 20 Teal and good numbers of Fieldfare while on the 19th a female Reed Bunting was at Jocks Hide and 7 Whooper Swans were on the fields adjacent to the reserves. At the Community reserve on the 23rd were the usual Little Grebes, a Cormorant, a Kingfisher and 8 Teal. At our Reserve were 2 Willow Tits among very good numbers of other small woodland birds and 7 Moorhen. 2 Grey Heron and a Buzzard. Tom Thomson reported a male Bullfinch and a Pheasant among his garden birds and I heard some Wigeon flying over the town at night on the 27th. On 1st December Lesley Robson from Hillside Terrace reported a single Brambling and a pair of Bullfinch and the following day Dave Bradshaw reported 45 Waxwings at Heathall. On 3rd December Garry Tait saw a flock of 28 Waxwings in Dumfries town centre. In the morning at the Reserve were 16 Teal and a male Kestrel with 3-4 skeins of Pinkfeet moving overhead. While out delivering papers on the morning of the 5th I saw 3 Goosanders flying over Dowding House. On the 14th Alan Beavan and his wife reported seeing up to 6 different Red Squirrels at Craigielands and up to 5 Buzzards up the Crooked Road area. Mathew White reported an Otter up at Craigieburn on the 15th and, the day after, John Smith had unusually large numbers of Blue Tits feeding on a bush in his garden at Greenwood Close while a Brambling put in an appearance the following day. Garry Tait, while passing the Loch of the Lowes, saw a family of 7 Whooper Swans and a Slavonian Grebe, which was noteworthy, and they stayed for a while. Richard Clarkson reported 8 Waxwings at Ecclefechan on the 19th while at the Reserve on the 21st were 24 Mallard and a count of 49 Teal which was excellent and there were still over 40 Teal around on the 28th though they move when the Reserve wetland is frozen. On the final day of the year while working at the Reserve the full gang of five.....comprising myself, Garry. John, Jon and Doug.....saw a good flock of 150 plus Siskins and 40 Mallard while on the way back to his van near the Water Bore Hole a small group of 5 Waxwing were spotted by Garry which was a great way to finish off 2016. While speaking to Dougie McMillan in the shop on the 3rd January he was telling me that he had seen up to 8 Woodcock at Lawesknowe which was a good count. Our first visit to the Reserve on the 4th saw the wetland ponds mostly frozen and a count of 10 Teal were using the ditches for feeding and a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers were displaying and chasing each other up the Orchard area of the Reserve.

And some sighting reports from Dave Bradshaw -
27/12/16 Quarry - Teal 3, Little Grebe 9, Mallard 38, Cormorant 3, Long-tailed Tit 12, Wren.
01/01/17 Moffat Country Park - Mute Swan 6 (still has last years young with them), Teal 3 (first time recorded there), Mallard 8, Moorhen 9, Blue Tit 3, Wren, Little Grebe 2.
02/01/17 Beattock village - Long-tailed Tit 10
02/01/17 our reserve - G S Woodpecker 2, Grey Heron, Great Tit 9, Moorhen 2, Mallard 1, Coal Tit 2, Blue Tit 3, Robin 2, Blackbird 3
02/01/17 Quarry - Little Grebe 2, Mallard 8, Teal 5, Cormorant 1, Moorhen 1.

And a selection of Dave's recent photographs:

Barnacle Goose

male Green-winged Teal

male Pintail

Whooper Swan & cygnet


Twite ('Heather Linty')

A request from Andy Riches: any further bird reports for Castle Loch or Hightae Loch should be sent to him ASAP. Also any further mammal reports should be sent to him no later than 28th January. This is so that he can complete the recorsd for 2016.
If you don't have contact details for Andy, please give John a shout and he will put you in touch.

Website changes
To free up space for new material, our archived news pages for 2011, 2012 & 2013 are no longer posted on the site. If anyone wishes to refer back to them, please contact John. The pages are still held on our sources although no longer published. Also removed are articles originally published in the printed Newsletters. They too are available on request. Other pages on our site may also be removed or consolidated to free up space. For the more technically minded, we have 100Mb of webspace available. Pictures, as we receive them, can run to quite a few Mb each which is why we reduce their size before publishing - and they can still reach 1Mb each. This does not leave us with a lot of leeway!

All entries for 2016 have been archived. View by clicking here or on menu at left.